Keeping with long held shipbuilding tradition, coins were placed on one of the keel blocks before the 650 ton unit was lowered into place in the dry dock. Representatives from Philly Shipyard and Kinder Morgan were in attendance to place the coins as a sign of good fortune and safe travels. Philly Shipyard representatives included the most recent graduates of the company’s Apprentice Program.
Initiated in 2004, the three-year apprenticeship program develops the next generation of Philly Shipyard employees. The recent graduation class added 15 skilled shipbuilders to the workforce, bringing the shipyard’s apprentices to 23% of its current workforce. Since the program’s inception, 21 apprentices have moved into management positions and many have obtained additional manufacturing qualifications. The shipyard expanded the program this year and has hired 50 apprentices with intent to hire another 50 apprentices in 2017.
Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard’s President and CEO, remarked, “Today we celebrate our fifteen new shipbuilders and the twenty-seventh keel laid in our seventeen year history. Both will set the standard for shipbuilding activities well into our future. Congratulations to our graduates and to the men and women of Philly Shipyard for another milestone progressing toward our ongoing goal of being the premier U.S. commercial shipyard.”
When completed in 2017, the product tanker celebrated today will be 600 feet long and capable of carrying 50,000 tons of crude oil or refined petroleum products. The Tier II 50,000 dead weight ton (dwt) product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future.